Since Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on July 9, 2018, the country has been more divided than ever. Whether you agree or disagree with the nomination, the debate over the Supreme Court seat just highlights the importance of the Supreme Court. Yet despite it being one of the three branches of Government many people don’t understand the importance of the Supreme Court. Unlike the President or Congress, the Supreme Court is largely misunderstood and ignored by many Americans.
As the head of the Judicial branch of government, the Supreme Court doesn’t create laws but instead deems there validity under the Constitution. Meaning the Court determines whether a law is Constitutional called Judicial review. This power was first created with Marbury v. Madison, (1803). This was the first time that the Supreme Court struck down a law as being unconstitutional. From then on, the Court has determined the constitutionality of laws that are challenged within the court system. This has lead to landmark decisions like Brown v. Board of Education that declared segregated schools as unconstitutional, Roe v. Wade which stated that states cannot criminalize or restrict access to abortion, and Obergefell v. Hodges that said laws banning same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is fundamental checking the power of both the Federal and State governments. But just like Congress, the Supreme Court is divided politically. On one side the Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents tend to vote in a block, whilst justices appointed by Republican Presidents vote in agreement with each other. This has lead to many 5-4 decisions on the court that follow the political positions of their respective parties.
Unlike most other positions in the government, a Supreme Court Justice is appointed for life. Meaning that judges are not held accountable through elections for their decisions. This just emphasizes that the process for nominating judges should be as thorough as possible. The Court should be impartial and no tainted by political affiliations. Now that Kavanaugh has been confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as a Justice, it has solidified a Conservative majority on the court. Whatever your opinion on Justice Kavanagh’s confirmation, with the power that the Supreme Court has it should not be ignored and forgotten by the American people. The Supreme Court can determine the path that the country takes, and young people especially should care about the Supreme Court because we are the ones who are going to live with their rulings for what could be the rest of our lives.